Memory power, one rupee and the Airtel Money Transfer System — That is all V. Jayavardhan Reddy and P. Nagendra Reddy used to ‘siphon off’ online Rs. 16,000 from the account of a woman.

The Cyberabad police on Monday arrested the duo for allegedly withdrawing money from the account of a housewife Ch. Mamata without her knowledge. An amount of Rs. 12,000 and six Airtel SIM cards were seized from them. The accused were earlier arrested on similar charge in Anantapur district.

They used to enter ATMs, mostly of the State Bank group, posing as customers and stand behind others swiping bank cards for withdrawing money. They would note down the last four or five digits of the debit card and the PIN keyed in by the customer standing in the front. “They would either memorise the digits or enter the details in their mobile phones, Cyberabad Cyber Crime Inspector Narender Reddy said. With these details, they transferred some money from their account to the debit card of the victim to know his or her account number. With the debit card number, PIN and bank account number at their disposal, the gang used to go to an Internet café, log into the bank’s website and create the mandatory 3D password for the account to make online transactions.

When the housewife lodged a complaint, police traced the duo from the IP address of the Internet café and arrested them.

Since just the debit card number and PIN of an unidentified customer doesn’t help in making any illegal withdrawal, the duo played a simple trick of transferring one rupee from their debit card to the stranger’s debit card through the ATM centre machine to find out the account number.

“If you transfer money in this fashion, the cash dispensing machine would issue a printed slip containing the account number of the person to which one rupee it is transferred,” the Inspector explained. With the debit card number, PIN and bank account number at their disposal, the gang now used to go to an Internet café, log into the bank’s website and create the mandatory 3D password for the account to make online transactions.

However, the gang wanted cash instead of purchasing articles online. So, they chose the Airtel Money transfer system to transfer funds from the stranger’s account to Nagender Reddy’s account and the latter withdrew the money. When the housewife lodged a complaint, the investigators tracked the online money transfer trail and found that the bank account 3D password was created from an Internet café based on the Internet Protocol address. They kept surveillance on the Internet centre and caught the duo.

More In: Hyderabad